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The Tampa Bay Rays of 2013. This was a very good team. As fate would have it, there would be many opportunities this postseason. Sometimes the Rays were bested by an incredible pitching performance. Other times the Rays soared ahead wit...
The Tampa Bay Rays of 2013. This was a very good team. As fate would have it, there would be many opportunities this postseason. Sometimes the Rays were bested by an incredible pitching performance. Other times the Rays soared ahead with their offense. Sometimes the defense fell apart. And in terms of giving the Rays opportunities in Game 4 of the ALDS, the bullpen giveth, and the bullpen taketh away. Mid-September The Rays hit their stride after a hard fought series in Tampa Bay against a formidable Boston team. The first game had been a 2-0 shutout performance by Clay Buchholz on his return from the disabled list, and Price had done his best with a complete game, two run performance. The second game had been a loss in extra innings, with the Rays unable to beat Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. The third game was a win, however, when Evan Longoria and Wil Myers doubled off Boston prospect Rubby De La Rosa as the game pushed into its final innings. It would be enough, the Rays held on to win 4-3. It was Wednesday, September 11, and it was the beginning of the Rays playoff push. The weekend series went on the road in Minnesota where the Rays took two of three, and then came home to face the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, each vying for a place in the wild card play-in game. The Rays split the series with Texas. Alex Cobb out dueled Matt Garza in game one, Alexi Ogando shut down the offense in game two, the Rays won in extras for game three, and then fell victim to Yu Darvish in game four. Tampa Bay would win the next seven games, dismantling the hopes and dreams of the Baltimore Orioles, a series that saw Manny Machado blow out his knee running to first in the fourth game, and the Rays wen on the road and swept the New York Yankees in their own house, including two shut outs on the strength of Moore and Cobb. The other win belonged to David Price. By this time the Rays knew one more win and they moved on, two and it was a guarantee, but Toronto stood in the way. R.A. Dickey pitched like a Cy Young winning in game one, and J.A. Happ exacted revenge, handing the Rays their first consecutive losses since the Boston series mentioned above and dropping the Rays into a tie with Texas. Game 162 The Rays tore it open. The offense was immaculate, posting six runs on Toronto in the first inning, and an insurance run in the fourth when Wil Myers doubled deep into left field to score Yunel Escobar. But nothing can be easy, and the Blue Jays crept back in. After a swinging strike out, Matt Moore allowed two singles and a double, scoring two. He was lifted for Jake McGee who allowed one run on a sac fly too deep in right, recorded two outs, then allowed three base runners and another score. Joel Peralta relieved McGee and walked the next hitter Sierra, leading Joe Maddon to explode in frustration. He was ejected, and Peralta got the double play. Peralta returned for the eighth and after a walk and two outs (including a swinging strike out), a single put two on, and Rodney was called in. Rodney was barely any help either, allowing two singles to score two runs and then walking the bases loaded, but he was still the best the Rays had. He stayed in, and he struck out Sierra swinging. Then in the ninth, it was a single to Adam Lind, a fielder's choice to first, a swinging strikeout, and thankfully a line out to left field. The Rays survived, and kept their tie with Texas. Photo credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Game 163 The Rays put their best pitcher on the mound, and he delivered. David Price was forcing groundouts in all but one inning, totaling fourteen in the outing, combined with four strikeouts and limiting the Rangers to a mere two runs in Arlington. The classic defense that has defined this club was on display, particularly by solid work from Yunel Escobar, and it was to him Price pointed and shouted "That's what I'm talking about!" before turning and embracing Evan Longoria. As the players swarmed in on Arlingt
about 3 hours ago
Last night I went to sleep angry, but I have to say that now I no longer have the energy. Maybe it was the late night from the bullpen game that used every available pitcher. Or maybe it was the constant adrenaline of the past two weeks ...
Last night I went to sleep angry, but I have to say that now I no longer have the energy. Maybe it was the late night from the bullpen game that used every available pitcher. Or maybe it was the constant adrenaline of the past two weeks that has me feeling drained. I'm not sad that we're not going to win the world series, I'm sad that the season is over, and I think that's reason enough to call the season a success. It is and always will be about the thrill of the hunt. A big thank you to everyone who hung around these parts and made it such a fun season. We'll deconstruct what went wrong in gory detail soon enough, and start hypothesizing a roster for next season. A big part of my DRaysBay offseason will involve trying to make myself and the rest of us all into better analysts: reviewing baseball principles that we think we know but take for granted, and making sure that we have the tools here readily available for this to be the smartest, best informed fanbase in the game. Please do not hesitate to give suggestions, either in the comments or privately (click on my name, there's an email there). Thanks y'all. See you next year (and also tomorrow, and they day after, etc.). Links RJ took a look (yesterday) at why Wil Myers struggled in the series. Before the game yesterday, Chris Archer stopped by All-Children's Hospital. Good pictures, good guotes from Archer, seems like a good guy. The FanGraphs contract crowdsourcing series has rolled along for awhile without crowdsourcing about any Rays, but now it's time to hypothesize the worth of David DeJesus. The Rays hold a $6.5 million option with a $1.5 million buyout. Will they pickup the option? If so, what will he get on the open market? The final THT awards are out, and believe it or not, by win-loss record vs. runs allowed, Jeremy Hellickson was one of the luckiest pitchers in the majors this year. In terms of allowing those runs, though, he was not very lucky. Or maybe he was not very good. I missed this when it first posted, since I was busy writing about Matt Joyce over and over, but Chris St. John at Beyond the Box score investigated the walk and strikeout rates of future major leaguers while they were in the low minors. It's not long, and it helps answer a simple question about how development works, so give it a read. This series spurred plenty of discussion over the bunt. First off, Russel Carleton gives a refresher on how to evaluate whether a bunt is right or wrong ($). Joe Posnanski thought, in a well-written way, that Shane Victorino's bunt in game four was wrong. Tom Tango thought that Joe Posnanski was wrong. Speaking of Tom Tango, Michael Lichtman (MGL), one of the co-authors of The Book, now has his own blog, Baseball Solutions. I like MGL because he cares about being right, and usually goes the extra mile to make sure he is. In one of his first posts, he investigates whether or not it's right to be more aggressive when up by a run than when down. Leander Schaerlaeckens has a fantastic longform profile of San Francisco's hitting coach, Hensley Meulens.
about 4 hours ago
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was a familiar scene.Jonny Gomes was wearing his combat helmet. Mike Napoli wasn't wearing a shirt. Beer and champagne were being sprayed in every direction, while "I'm Different," a song by rap artist 2 Chainz...
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was a familiar scene.Jonny Gomes was wearing his combat helmet. Mike Napoli wasn't wearing a shirt. Beer and champagne were being sprayed in every direction, while "I'm Different," a song by rap artist 2 Chainz, was blaring over the speakers in the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field. But then, the Red Sox did something to make this celebration -- capping a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the clinching Game 4 of the AL Division Series -- unique. Read more Jonny Gomes news
about 9 hours ago
The postseason march of the Boston Red Sox continued on Tuesday night, as they downed the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 and advanced to the ALCS. The final out and hug ceremony on the field was pretty standard, as you can see above.But when the Red...
The postseason march of the Boston Red Sox continued on Tuesday night, as they downed the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 and advanced to the ALCS. The final out and hug ceremony on the field was pretty standard, as you can see above.But when the Red Sox got into the clubhouse, they bro'd out so hard. There was beer-chugging, champagne baths, shirtless Mike Napoli everywhere, Jonny Gomes at his Jonny Gomesness and someone possibly getting waterboarded (?!) in a celebratory fashion.Here are 10 GIFs from their postgame celebration. Thanks to the Red Sox's Vine account for existing and sharing these wonderful scenes with us. The first one, however, came from TV (and with an assist from our pal @CJZero). It's Big Papi David Ortiz celebrating Hump Day with closer Koji Uehara Read more David Ortiz news
about 10 hours ago
Advancing to the ALCS for the first time since 2008, the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field. It's their 10th ALCS appearance. The Rays, who were trying force a fifth game ...
Advancing to the ALCS for the first time since 2008, the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field. It's their 10th ALCS appearance. The Rays, who were trying force a fifth game at Boston, lost a 1-0 lead in the seventh.Shane Victorino and Jacoby Ellsbury combined to go 15 for 32 with five stolen bases and nine runs scored in the series. Victorino beat out an infield single with two outs in the seventh to push Ellsbury across home plate for Boston's lead run Read more Jacoby Ellsbury news
about 10 hours ago
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- How long did it take Koji Uehara to forget Monday night?Try a good night’s sleep.“It was a new day,” the Red Sox’ closer said last night, soaked from champagne.Uehara had just faced four Tampa Bay Rays batters and...
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- How long did it take Koji Uehara to forget Monday night?Try a good night’s sleep.“It was a new day,” the Red Sox’ closer said last night, soaked from champagne.Uehara had just faced four Tampa Bay Rays batters and gotten each of them out, saving a 3-1 victory in Game 4 of the Division Series and sending the Red Sox to the ALCS, which begins Saturday night at Fenway Park against either the Detroit Tigers or Oakland Athletics. Read more Koji Uehara news
about 10 hours ago
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Shane Victorino showed bunt, Jacoby Ellsbury took off running from first base, and Joel Peralta's pitch was a curveball in the dirt. Not the type of pitch in the dirt that typifies a pitcher witho...
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Shane Victorino showed bunt, Jacoby Ellsbury took off running from first base, and Joel Peralta's pitch was a curveball in the dirt. Not the type of pitch in the dirt that typifies a pitcher without control; just the type that happens occasionally when a catcher calls for the low curve in an important spot. Jose Lobaton knew it was coming, and as the better of the Rays' two backstops at blocking pitches, he was the right man for the job. And yet it got past him. Xander Bogaerts scampered home to tie the game while Ellsbury motored to third. Two pitches later, Victorino's bat broke, and he sent a slow dribbler toward Yunel Escobar, the Rays gold-glove caliber shortstop. The play unfolded excruciatingly slowly. It was clear almost immediately that the ball was hit too poorly, and that with Victorino's speed, Escobar had no play. Still, as he charged the grounder, one could be forgiven for imagining Escobar scooping and finding something special for the throw, for imagining the type of throw that would make James Loney switch his glove before taking the field in the next inning on account of torn seams. In reality, Escobar's throw was merely ordinary, and Victorino beat it there by at least a full step. That's all it took to end the Rays' season. The rest of this game reads like a curtain call. I'll recap. You applaud or not as you feel appropriate. Jeremy Hellickson In the game’s very first at bat, we got a look at what Hellickson looks like when he’s holding nothing back. First pitch fastball low in the zone taken for a strike. Curve in the dirt (blocked by Lobaton). Changeup below the zone for a whiff. With the first three pitches, Hellickson showed everything he had. I bet that for a moment you thought that the decision to start the one-time rookie of the year for a few innings was going to work out. He eventually got a flyout to right from Ellsbury, and then popped both Victorino and Pedroia out on high fastballs (a welcome sight for those who can still remember "FIP-beater Hellickson"). As good as Hellickson looked in the first inning, bad Helly reared his head in inning number two. First he walked David Ortiz on four straight fastballs, but that’s understandable. He should pitch carefully to Ortiz. But then he walked Mike Napoli on four fastballs as well. Jim Hickey immediately jumped on the phone, Jamey Wright started warming up, and Evan Longoria had an animated discussion with Hellickson before Hickey trotted out to have a discussion of his own (and use some time). The next batter, Daniel Nava flipped a curve into right field to load the bases, and Hellickson’s night was done almost before it began. Jamey Wright (with Loney and Escobar) Enter Jamey Wright. With the bases loaded, no outs, and the pressure of an elimination game hanging heavy from the Tropicana Field catwalks, the moment was not too big for the 18-year major league veteran. He missed low with a backdoor curve in a 1-2 count, and then came right back with that big, sweeping curve, placing it on the black for a strikeout looking of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Then he got some help. Stephen Drew lined a curve hard toward first, but James Loney leapt to make the catch. He started racing to first but it was soon clear that Nava was going to beat him there. Loney noticed, though, that Napoli was napping. As Escobar raced to the bag, Loney dipped his shoulder and fired to second where Escobar executed a beautiful scoop to complete the double play and get out of the inning. I have never before seen a 3-6 double play quite like that before. Matt Moore (Zobrist, Loney, and Escobar) Jamey Wright stayed on to face the righty Will Middlebrooks, but gave up a walk to the Sox' number nine hitter. At the start of the inning, Maddon had both Matt Moore and Wesley Wright warming up in the 'pen. I can only assume that if J. Wright had gotten the out it would have been a lower leverage situation and Maddo
about 11 hours ago
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- From worst to first, and now back in the AL championship series.Shane Victorino's infield single snapped a seventh-inning tie and journeyman Craig Breslow gave Boston a huge boost out of the bullpen, sending the R...
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- From worst to first, and now back in the AL championship series.Shane Victorino's infield single snapped a seventh-inning tie and journeyman Craig Breslow gave Boston a huge boost out of the bullpen, sending the Red Sox into the ALCS with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.Koji Uehara got the final four outs -- one night after giving up a game-winning homer -- and Boston rebounded to take the best-of-five playoff 3-1. Read more Craig Breslow news
about 11 hours ago
about 12 hours ago
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Shane Victorino's infield single snapped a seventh-inning tie and journeyman Craig Breslow gave Boston a huge boost out of the bullpen, sending the Red Sox into the AL championship series with a 3-1 victory ove...
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Shane Victorino's infield single snapped a seventh-inning tie and journeyman Craig Breslow gave Boston a huge boost out of the bullpen, sending the Red Sox into the AL championship series with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. Read more Craig Breslow news
about 12 hours ago